Discussion continues on no parking restrictions

With varying widths in cul-de-sacs and dead-end streets across the village, the Arlington Village Board of Trustees will continue to evaluate and research the proper width needed in those areas before deciding on any further parking restrictions.

Discussion at Monday's board meeting comes a month after resident Bryan Spilinek spoke out against the recently-imposed no parking restrictions on Walnut Court.

In April, the village board approved an ordinance prohibiting cars, trucks or other motor vehicles from parking on the west side of Walnut Court from Walnut Drive to the point where the cul-de-sac begins. Approval came after three readings at three separate meetings dating back to February.

Spilinek has lived on Walnut Court for two years, but he said his house has been there for 24 years.

"Why, after 24 years, is it necessary to implement a no parking policy?" he asked the board last month.

Village board members approved the restrictions, Chairman Paul Krause said, because of safety concerns brought up by board Vice Chairman Mark Sundberg, who lives on Walnut Court. Sundberg was concerned about emergency vehicles being able to access the homes in the cul-de-sac.

Spilinek, noting that Sundberg did not discuss the issue with his neighbors, asked the board to rescind the restrictions, or, if they choose to keep them in place, consider putting similar restrictions in other areas.

The board took the issue under advisement and since that meeting, Krause and Streets and Parks Commissioner Jon Rosenthal measured other cul-de-sacs, though the measurements differed. Krause also looked at village ordinances.

"We don't really have any guidance in our ordinance book," he said. "I think we should look at the town as a whole so it's being applied fairly."

State fire regulations do recommend that fire access roads, which in this case could include village streets, should have a minimum 20-foot wide path.

Arlington Assistant Fire Chief Dan Douglas and board member Travis Kraemer also saw similar numbers.

"That does sound excessive when the trucks are backing in and out of an 11-foot hole next door (the Arlington fire station) all the time, but when you figure if you had to stop in a specific spot and perform the functions of a fire truck and rescue unit, would 20 feet be excessive then when you are dropping ladders and pulling hoses off and you've got people moving around?" Douglas said. "That is where that number is coming from."

Resident Keith Miskie voiced his concerns about possible parking restricts on his cul-de-sac, Pine Tree Court, and questioned why board members would consider restrictions without asking their constituents. Miskie said he only learned of the concerns recently.

Krause pointed out that residents had three opportunities to discuss the Walnut Court parking restrictions.

"We read the ordinance for three months, it was in the paper for three months and nobody came here for three months," he said.

While he wished he could talk to everybody and tell them everything that is going to affect them at the meeting, Krause said he doesn't have time.

"I'm not asking you to do that, but there's got to be another way. I heard this through my son, who heard it from somebody at work," Miskie said. "I don't read the paper."

Krause said that the Walnut Court decision has been made and the board is moving forward.

Board members were not prepared to set a width for streets. Krause and board member Jason Wiese, who serve on the streets committee, will continue to research the issue and report back to the full board.

Discussion on zoning ordinance continues

Resident Cheryl Keeler appeared before the board to make a case for changes in the building permit application approval process and to seek clarification on how the accessory building maximum height of 27 feet for residential areas will be enforced uniformly throughout those areas, including subdivisions currently under covenants.

She was asking that the board consider requiring more than one person approve controversial building applications.

Keeler contends that accessory building constructed last fall next to her mother-in-law's house along West Sixth Street was done illegally.

"I think it could have been denied, because I don't believe it fits in the zoning," Keeler said, before Krause stopped the discussion.

"I'm past that building," he said. "We have checked with our attorney and it was built according to the codes at the time."

Krause agreed that the board needs to amend the code to specify that the new set backs and height requirement should include R1 and R2 zoning areas, which was an issue Keeler raised.

Board members didn't indicate a willingness to change the approval process, however.

Currently, residents wanting building permits begin the application process at the village office and after the village clerk reviews it to make sure it meets zoning codes, it's forwarded to the Washington County Planning Department who issues the permit. The village has an interlocal agreement, Krause said, with the county for the service.

Sundberg reminded the board that they agreed to continue discussion of this issue. When the new setbacks were approved, Sundberg said he didn't think the restrictions were appropriate for all areas of the village, believing some areas needed different requirements. He also said he would like to see a rule that adjacent property owners are notified before construction starts on an accessory building.

On Monday, Sundberg suggested an ad-hoc committee be formed. The committee could include board members and residents.

Kraemer liked the idea.

"I'd like to see a committee of some sort look at this to make sure I understand the full process and have some information about surrounding communities and make sure we are not missing something," he said. "It's a good opportunity for us."

Krause said he will work out those details and work on scheduling a meeting.

Ordinances make changes to alcohol sales, library board

Ordinance 654, approved on first reading, will allow the sale of beer, wine and liquor on and off sale between the hours of 8 a.m. and 1 a.m. on all days of the week.

Krause said there were complaints from residents about being able to purchase alcohol in Arlington earlier in the day when they could go seven miles down the road and purchase it in Fremont.

Also approved on first reading was Ordinance 653, which removes term limits for library board members.

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